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Sewing Indie Month: Sleeve Zipper Tutorial by Closet Case Files

Posted by Betsy Cook on

 Hey everyone! As part of Sewing Indie Month Heather, from Closet Case Files is taking over the blog! Check out her tutorial on sleeve zips: 

Moto Chic Zipper sleeve tutorial-27

I've been eyeballing Betsy's Moto Chic jacket for a long while, and Sewing Indie Month was a great excuse for me to finally make it up. I love how the back ruffle softens the tough lines of this motorcycle jacket, and knowing what a meticulous technician Betsy is when it comes to patternmaking, I knew I could expect a beautifully drafted pattern. I wasn't disappointed.

Moto Chic Jacket pattern-10

Moto Chic Jacket pattern-11

For this make, I decided to incorporate a little wrist hardware by way of some exposed metal zippers. This design feature can be added to just about any sleeve, and it's similar to an ankle zipper hack I did on my blog for my Ginger Jeans pattern. All you need is a metal zipper, a marking tool and some pins. Let's get started.

First things first, figure out the size of the zipper opening on the sleeve. If you don't need to trim the teeth, you'll want the top of the zipper to line up with the fold line of your sleeve hem. Once you know how long your opening needs to be, cut a piece of interfacing about 3/4 - 1" wide that is an inch longer than your zipper and apply it to wrong side of your sleeve seam.

Moto Chic Zipper sleeve tutorial

Using your marking tool, draw a horizontal line right above where your zipper stop will go. Above this line, draw in your seam allowance. Below this line, we will need to shift our seam allowance over so that the zipper teeth are exposed; add an extra 1/4" to the seam allowance on each side.

Moto Chic Zipper sleeve tutorial-2

With your sleeve seams pinned together, sew normally just until the horizontal line that indicates the start of your zipper teeth and backstitch. The line below indicates where the fabric will be pressed under - baste along this side on each side of your sleeve (being sure not to baste them together!) for a folding/pressing guide.

Moto Chic Zipper sleeve tutorial-3

To get our new wider seam allowance to neatly press under, notch from below the horizontal line to where it intersects with your basting stitch.

Moto Chic Zipper sleeve tutorial-4

Press your seam allowance open, the small triangle flaps up, and your wider seam allowances flat along the basted line of stitching.

Moto Chic Zipper sleeve tutorial-5

From the right side, pin your zipper into place.

Moto Chic Zipper sleeve tutorial-7

Starting on one side and going all the way around, sew the zipper to the sleeve opening, ensuring that the small triangular fabric flaps are caught in your stitching. Use a short stitch length. To get nice crisp corners, leave your needle down where you would like to pivot, lift the presser foot and turn your work while it is anchored in place by the needle. This step is optional, but you can also add a long narrow bar tack at the top to help anchor your zipper into place.

Moto Chic Zipper sleeve tutorial-9

You can now finish your sleeve and jacket construction normally. If you are bagging your coat lining, simply sew the hems of your sleeve and lining together. When the coat is flipped inside out, you will need to slipstitch the lining adjacent to the zipper into place by hand.

Moto Chic Zipper sleeve tutorial-21

Moto Chic Zipper sleeve tutorial-25

And there you have it! A simple method for inserting a zipper into your Moto Chic jacket sleeve!

Moto Chic Jacket pattern-15

Thanks Heather for sharing! Your jacket looks awesome!

Stay tuned for some exciting news about the Moto Chic jacket coming soon!

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  • This is so cute!!!

    mary on
  • That’s great news!!!! Thanks so much!!!

    Jess on
  • Actually I am in process of putting the finishing touches on the PDF. Hoping by this weekend! I will also post an announcement.

    Betsy on
  • I love this jacket so much … Will it ever be available as pdf?

    Jess on

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